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曹洞禅 Sotozen in Oakland, CAlifornia


 

 

our neighborhood Zen Buddhist temple in Rockridge

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曹洞禅 Sotozen in Oakland, CAlifornia


 

 

our neighborhood Zen Buddhist temple in Rockridge

 
 
 

A little family temple

Oakland Zen Center - Kojin An Zendo is a small Soto Zen Buddhist temple built in the tradition of the neighborhood temples in Japan. We have a lovely space to practice Zazen. Every Sunday morning, neighbors and friends join us for sitting and a short Sutra service followed by talk and tea... We also practice brush calligraphy, Tea Ceremony, and other traditional "Zen arts" from time to time.

 
 
 
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Good People


 

 好人庵 Kojin-An means 'good people hermitage'

 

 

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Good People


 

 好人庵 Kojin-An means 'good people hermitage'

 

 

Our Teachers and Sangha

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A pair of California pioneers, Gengo and Yoshi Akiba lead the Kojin An Sangha with a global innovative vision. For decades they have created various settings for 'good people' to meet and come together.  Thanks to the Akibas, Kojin An has a warm extended community and the atmosphere is rigorous and deep yet open and friendly. 

Rev. Gengo Akiba is an Eiheiji-trained Soto Zen priest who has participated in and supported Zen practice across the US, Japan, and Europe. He currently holds the position of Sokan, or 'Archbishop' the head representative of Japanese Soto Zen in North America. 

Ms. Yoshi Akiba is a spiritual-interpretive dancer, a multidisciplinary artist, a licensed teacher in the Omotesenke Way of Tea, the eponymous founder of Yoshi's jazz club, and co-founder of the educational nonprofit 51Oakland.

 

We are an open and affirming community, we value inclusivity and diversity and do not discriminate on any basis. 

We welcome explorers, beginners, and long-time practitioners.

Access and Inclusion

Our teaching style is organic and inter-relational, rather than linear or regimented, this may best suit people who practice without a need for frequent formal instruction. This free-form style is possible because we are a small family temple rather than a training monastery or a large 'Zen Center'.

Our small size and family-run nature allow us to be creative and flexible. However, we may not have the resources to accommodate the needs of every individual. The traditional Japanese design of the buildings means that much of the site is not readily accessible to wheelchairs, and access may be difficult for those with impaired mobility. It is possible to sit in a chair during zazen and other events, but shoes must be removed before entering. Natural-wood-based incense is used according to the Soto Zen practice, however the Zendo is naturally well ventilated.

Not all residents on the property are involved in temple activities, and their privacy at home is respected. Because we are not a 'public place' we ask that new visitors contact us prior to their first visit. 

 
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taste of zen AND TEA


each moment passes once

 

 

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taste of zen AND TEA


each moment passes once

 

 

茶道                   Tea Ceremony

OMOTESENKE WAY of TEA

Tea and Zen are of the same taste.

The way of Tea provides a bridge between an internal practice, like Zazen, and our external relationships with people and objects. Tea focuses the mind in the present moment, in “ichi go ichi e” a unique meeting once in a lifetime. Tea class provides a bridge between the material and spiritual world, between the abstract and the pragmatic, between people and wider nature. It is a venue to appreciate beautiful works of art and share warm social interactions.

書道CALLIGRAPHY

THE BRUSH & THE BREATH

The Kojin An Sangha holds practice and lessons in traditional Japanese brush calligraphy most Saturdays. Usually taught by the accomplished Yoko Muroga sensei who has been practicing daily for many years. Both kanji and hiragana are practiced in a quiet and relaxed setting. A basic literacy in Japanese may be helpful, though not necessary.

Occasionally workshops are also held in Sumi-e painting, and in Shakyo sutra copying.

 

 座禅            Zazenkai

FUNDAMENTAL PRACTICE

Shikantaza or “just sitting” emphasizes returning to proper posture, breath, and awareness moment by moment.

Our Zazenkai, or 'sitting group' meets every Sunday morning. We sit Zazen, with the option of one or two 40 minute periods of sitting, followed by a brief formal Sutra Recitation service, soji zendo cleaning, and ending with informal tea and conversation.

For several decades the Sunday morning Zazenkai has been the warm heart of the practice at Kojin An.

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座禅 Participate & practice


our main practice is Zazen or Shikantaza... 

"just sit, think of not thinking..."

 

Learn More about Zazen

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座禅 Participate & practice


our main practice is Zazen or Shikantaza... 

"just sit, think of not thinking..."

 

Learn More about Zazen

...We devote ourselves to following the teaching and put all our efforts into the practice of the Way. The true practice which is in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching is nothing but shikantaza, which is the essence of the life in this temple today....
— Eihei Dogen
 

Our practice of Zazen is not "thinking-meditation" ....

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that was refined in China as Chan. Both Zen and Chan are derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana which can be translated as “meditation” or “concentration of mind.”

The essence of the Soto Zen School was transmitted from China in the 13th Century by Eihei Dogen Zenji. The fourth generation Japanese master of the school was Keizan Zenji who reinforced the teachings and enlarged the school. To this day Soto Zen venerates these two founders and Shakyamuni Buddha.

座禅 Zazen – “sitting Zen” – is the foundation of Zen Buddhist practice. Zazen can be practiced at home as well as in a zendo.

只管打坐 Shikantaza – “just sitting” – is the way zazen is practiced in Soto Zen. It emphasizes returning to right posture, breath and awareness of mind moment by moment. We sit facing toward "the wall" in the manor of our ancestor Bodhidharma in the cave at Shaolin.

“Having regulated body and mind, take a breath and exhale fully. Sitting fixedly, think of not thinking. How do you think of not thinking? beyond thinking. This is the art of zazen.”
– Dogen Zenji

The Zendo - Our place of practice

The Kojin-an zendo frame and roof tiles were shipped from Japan, accompanied by five skilled temple carpenters, who assembled the timbers on-site from 1993 to 1994.

Inside, Kojin-an is arranged as a traditional Soto School training hall, with tan raised platforms for meditation along the sides and an altar to Mañjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, at its center.

In a niche in the south wall is an altar devoted to Shakyamuni Buddha and the two founders of the Soto School, Dogen Zenji and Keizan Zenji. Thus, this building serves the purposes of three traditional temple buildings: the sodo or monastic training hall, the ceremonial Buddha hall, and the Founders’ Hall.

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天平山Tenpyozan Project


Rev. Akiba and the Kojin An sangha are working to build a training temple...

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天平山Tenpyozan Project


Rev. Akiba and the Kojin An sangha are working to build a training temple...

The Tenpyozan project is envisioned as a place for students of all the various lineages of Soto Zen to come together to practice. It will be a laboratory for the continuing process of transmission, translation, and adaptation. The project is supported by Zen teachers and practitioners from around the world. The buildings are currently under construction three hours drive North of San Francisco.